The debt recovery suit of N395 million filed against Lagos businessman Lateef Bello-Osagie by Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has been adjourned to the 14th of February, 2024, for the commencement of the hearing.
In a statement of claim filed before a Federal high court in Lagos,by a Lagos Attorney, Doctor Francis Chuka Agbu SAN,on behalf of AMCON,the debt recovery Agency alleged thus:
By an application letter dated 14th March 2008, Mtech Communications Limited (“MTECH”)applied to Bank PHB Plc (now keystone Bank) for a 6 months credit facility of the sum of N250,000,000 (Two Hundred and Fifty Million Naira) for each of its four directors (namely Mrs Sheri Williams, Mr Chris Ubosi, Mr.Lateef Belo-Osagie (the defendant), and Mr. Chika Nwobi totaling one billion Naira to enable them partake in the private placement exercise of the Company.
In support of the application for the credit facilities, Mtech executed a Board of directors’ resolution dated 11th April, 2008 amongst others,guaranteeing the repayment of 6 months term-loan granted to its affected directors which includes Mr.Lateef Bello-Osagie.
Mtech further executed 4 separate letters of set off, all dated 22nd April, 2008,expressly and unconditionally authorizing AMCON to set off or transfer any amount standing to the credit of Mtech PPP Account (private Placement Proceed Account) with the Bank PHB (Now Keystone Bank) against any debt due to the Bank arising from the aforesaid credit facilities.
AMCON avers that in reliance on these instruments,securities and assurances given by Mtech and its directors (including Lateef Bello- Bello- Osagie)of prompt payment of the facilities,Bank Phb Plc vide four separate offer letters respectively dated 10m April, 2008, granted loan and overdraft facilities to the Defendant herein and the other directors in the sum of N250,000,000 (Two Hundred and Fifty Million Naira) each for the sole purpose of acquiring units of shares in the aforesaid private placement of Mtech.
The Plaintiff avers that in the case of the defendant herein,he received the sum of N250,000,000 from Bank Phb Plc into his account on 14th May, 2008, which he also transferred into MTech Communication’s Private Placement Account 131102000017 on the same date for the purchase of additional shares in MTech.
In addition to the aforementioned security given by Mtech, the Defendant herein and other Directors of MTech named above also issued separate letters dated 25th May 2009 to Greenwich Securities Limited authorizing the company to verify and dematerialize their MTech shares Certificates into CSCS, and to also apply any proceed from the sale of the shares towards liquidation of their indebtedness to the Bank Phb.
By the aforementioned offer letter, the Lender (Defunct Bank PHB Plc) is entitled to 15% per annum interest rate. 0.75% management fee,0.25% Processing fee. It was also agreed that the Respondent’s failure to repay the facility upon demand or its maturity shall attract a fee of 1% flat monthly on outstanding balance until the facility and fees stipulated in the said offer letter are fully repaid.
The Plaintiff avers that shortly after the above tranches of facilities, the defendant and other three affected directors of MTech approached the Bank PHB Plc, using a different vehicle/company Known as Travaux Investment Limited,which was under the control of Mrs Sheri Williams (as Chairman) and applied for another Facility of N1,780,782, 500 for tenor of 6 months to enable the Defendant and other three affected Directors further participate in a strategic investment of Mtech, as follows:
Mrs Sheri William (Chairman) N540,640,625
Mr. Chika Nwobi (Managing Director) N461,860,625
Mr.Lateef Belo-Osagie (Director) N389,140,625
Mr. Chris Ubosi N389,140,625
As security for the further credit facility of N1, 780, 782, 500 or utilization of its above listed directors, MTech further executed a letter of set off dated 11th June, 2008, unconditionally and irrevocably conferring a right of lien and set or (transfer) over the entire amount in the aforesaid PPP Account which were to be retained by the Bank PHB Plc as continuing security for all liabilities which may be incurred by the Bank Phb Plc in respect of the facility granted to the defendant and other directors of MTech for purchase of MTech shares at the private placement exercise.
AMCON avers that the further loan sought for by the Defendant making the total credit facilities granted in the two tranches to be N2,780,782,500 and the closure of the private placement of MTech,the two credit facilities availed to the directors (including the Defendant)demand for the liquidation of the credit facilities, but neither the defendant repay the debit.
The Plaintiff avers that instead of paying their debt,the four Directors,including the Defendant herein began agitating for the release of the sum of N2.6 billion being part of the offer proceeds then available in the PPP Account No: 131102000017, vide their solicitors letter dated 24th April 2009.
After all efforts to make the Defendant and other Directors repay their outstanding indebtedness proved abortive, Bank PHB Plc (now Keystone Bank Plc) on the 22nd day of June, 2009, exercised its rights of set off over the sum N2, 542, 981, 023.60 then available in the MTech’s PPP Account in exercise of its contractual rights and debited the said amount.
The initial Six months term loan of N250,000,000 (Two Hundred and Fifty Million Naira) granted to Defendant for the sole purpose of acquiring units of shares in the aforesaid private placement of Mtech was not liquidated by the Defendant on the due date in line with offer letter of 10th April, 2008 until Bank PHB Plc exercised is rights of set off over the sum N2,542,981,023.60 then available in the MTech’s PPP Account on 22nd day of June, 2009.
Before the Bank PHB Plc exercised Its rights of set off, interest had already Hundred and Fifty Million Naira) granted to Defendant,which the continues to accumulate.
The interest on the balance of the principal loan granted to the Defendant in the offer of 14th May 2008, continues to accrue till 31st December, 2010 and the Defendant neglected to pay the debt.
Following the Defendant’s default, the said debt became a non-performing loan and pursuant to the AMCON’s statutory powers regarding Eligible Bank Assets/non-performing loans, the Plaintiff and the Original Creditor Bank Plc (now keystone Bank) entered into Loan Purchase and Limited Servicing Agreements assigning to the Plaintiff, all the Original Creditor’s rights, benefits, and interests in the non-performing loan which the Defendant failed, refused and or neglected to repay as agreed.
The Defendant’s total indebtedness to the Claimant, at the time of purchase in 31st December 2010 as shown in the Loan Purchase Agreements, stood at the total sum of N152,796,481.49 (One Hundred Four Hundred and Eighty-One Naira and Forty-Nine Kobo) and interest continues to accrue on the said sum.
The Plaintiff avers that the Original Creditors Bank Phb Plc (now Keystone bank) did cause to be issued to the defendant notice to the effect that its outstanding indebtedness to it has been assigned to the Plaintiff pursuant to AMCON Act, 2010 and further gave the Defendant notice to liquidate the said indebtedness
The Plaintiff has not received any communication from the Defendant as to mode of repayment of his debt since 1st January, 2011, and at the time of filing this Suit, the indebtedness of the Defendant to the Plaintiff stands at the sum of N395,428,921.66 (Three Hundred Ninety-Five Million, Four Hundred and Twenty-Eight Thousand, Nine Hundred and Twenty-One Naira, Sixty-Six Kobo).
It is now in the interest of the Plaintiff and the Nigerian economy for the Plaintiff to enforce its rights under the Loan Purchase Agreements and discharge its statutory mandate under the AMCON Act.
WHEREOF the Plaintiff claims against the Defendant as follows:
An order of this Honourable Court compelling the Defendant to pay the Plaintiff, the sum of N395,428,921.66 (Three Hundred Ninety-Five Million, Four Hundred and Twenty-Eight Thousand, Nine Hundred and Twenty-One Naira, Sixty-Six Kobo). being the Defendant’s outstanding indebtedness to the Plaintiff as at 4th August,2021.
Pre-Judgement interest on the judgment sum at the rate of fifteen percent (15%) per annum from the date of filing of this action till final judgment is delivered.
Post Judgement interest on the judgment sum at the rate of fifteen percent (15%) per annum from the day final judgment is delivered until final liquidation to the Plaintiff;
Costs of this action in the sum of N5,000,000.00 (Five million Naira)